Alex had eaten, drank and enjoyed the feeling of the pill. It took the edge off again. Even though he felt like he was constantly teetering on the edge of the abyss, it gave him enough to stay afloat.
He’d found a bit more cloth and put it on the floor in a corner, near Burrow’s chair. It was good to sit on something other than the chair. He tried lying down and found it wasn’t exactly comfortable, but his aching body cheered and sighed. He gave in and fell into an exhausted sleep.
“Mahone!” He felt something, or somebody, nudge his legs.
The voice was soft too, but with a raw element to it. He opened his eyes to see Burrows standing over him in a dim light. The cabin was dark save for a few candles. There were more than last time and Alex decided he liked that. He’d always hated the dark, but since last night…
“Had a good nap?” His captor asked with thinly veiled sarcasm as he moved away to the table.
Alex tried to sit up; he managed it slowly. “Yes, I think it helped a bit.”
Burrows looked at him sideways. “Stay there; I’ll make you some more food.”
Alex obeyed, but only because he wanted what Burrows had to offer. The makeshift bed was a lot better than the hard and unforgiving chair. “You’ve got a stove here?” He asked lightly.
Burrows barked out a laugh. “You’re not serious, are you? No, I’ve brought a water boiler. We’ve got a bit of electricity here through a generator. I’ve plugged it in outside.” Burrows took the small electric boiler out of his bag and stuck it into something Alex couldn’t see. They didn’t speak as Burrows walked back and forth slowly emptying the bag bit by bit.
It was a normal scene in a twisted sense of the word. Alex leaned against the wall, just sitting and watching as his captor, or partner whatever you wanted to call it, made some food.
“It tastes like shit, but it’s warm. My mother always said that you have to make sure to eat something warm every day, no matter what it is, as long as it’s warm,” Burrows murmured as he poured water into two large cups. He put a spoon in each and handed one to Alex.
The warmth seeped into his hands and Alex realized then how cold he’d been and still was. The food was some sort of broth. It looked like noodles with some vegetables; it would probably taste like cardboard.
“Thank you,” he said before he slurped a spoonful.
Burrows didn’t answer, but soon a slurp from his direction indicated that they were both eating.
It wasn’t bad at all and when he was done, Burrows took the cup out of his hand and produced a couple of boiled eggs from the water boiler. “You want bread with them? I’ve got some salad too.” Alex looked up, seeing a large man who was supposed to be quite intimidating and had beaten Alex up on more than one occasion, waiting for his answer with hot eggs in one hand and a water boiler in the other.
It was so absurd that Alex couldn’t push away the bubble of laughter that was threatening to come up so he gave into it. Burrows stared at him, raising one eyebrow. “You’re cooking for me.” Alex wheezed.
For a moment he thought Burrows would attack him in anger, but then his lips twitched and he quickly turned around.
“Yeah well, don’t get used to it, Mahone.” Burrows gruffly said, though there was no real sting in his words.
Alex felt a glimmer of hope flicker. “Bread and some salad would be fine.” He said with a small smile.
“You’ve got it,” Burrows said as he put the meager but wonderful meal on a dingy, plastic, plate and handed it to Alex.
Alex tried to fold his legs and saw Burrows shake his head. “No man, not good. Come on; sit at the table while you’re eating.” He motioned his head and grabbed Alex’s chair pulling it closer.
Alex didn’t really want to sit on the chair again, but Burrows was probably right, so with a groan and feeling like a very old man, he got up slowly. Burrows leaned towards the makeshift bed in another unexpected gesture of kindness and picked up Alex’s plate. He shoved it on the table just as Alex was sitting down.
“I keep on thanking you,” Alex said as he looked at his plate, the smell appealing to his stomach.
“Yeah you do.” Burrows rumbled as he dug into his own meal. They ate in silence for a while. When Alex had finished his eggs and bread, he picked around his salad a bit, stealing glances at Burrows who had already finished.
“You’re nothing like me, Burrows, and you’ll never be. It isn’t in your nature.”
Burrows looked up, straight into Alex’s eyes. He looked startled, but there was something else in his eyes too. “Of course I’m not,” he said without conviction.
They stared at each other until Burrow’s cell rang. He let it ring three times and then broke their eye contact to rise and answer. “Yeah?... when?... God, are you sure?... all right, yeah… thanks, Jane. I owe you one… yes I know… I will be” He closed the phone and looked at it.
“Was that the person who could help to protect my family?” Alex asked.
It startled Burrows; that much was obvious. “Yes, yes it was…” Burrows was evasive and licked his lips as he looked back at his phone. It unnerved Alex.
“The phone is dead; tell me what’s going on!” He snapped.
Burrows didn’t get angry, but looked at him, this time with compassion in his eyes. “I’m sorry.”
Alex felt a lump in his throat, his chest. If only he could be numb, but every part of his body was screaming in denial. He wanted to shake Burrows, make him tell him what he meant. What did he have to be sorry for?
Burrows put the phone away and turned. He stood before Alex, rubbing his neck as he looked at the floor, still avoiding Alex’s eyes. “I… my friend went to the address you gave me. Police were present.”
Alex started to feel sick. This couldn’t be happening. “They… your wife, man. They killed her.”
No, he couldn’t just believe what Burrows, a criminal who held him hostage said! But what if… Pam, they’d gotten to Pam? Oh God. “My boy.” He croaked, trying to keep his composure.
Burrows still didn’t look at him. “Taken by the FBI for questioning and protection. Jane, my contact, she couldn’t say how he was.”
Alex clenched his fists and looked down. He didn’t know how to react, what to do. Rage, disbelief and sadness warred inside of him. “Why should I believe you?” He said hoarsely. “You may have fed me, but you haven’t exactly shown me… you could do this as another way to…”
Burrows was suddenly in his face, sitting on his haunches, looking oddly shaken himself. “I would never do that, man. I never thought-”
“That my family would pay the price for my failing?” Alex said bitterly. “I told you. I told you what would happen. You’re using this.” He couldn’t just let it go and it was easier to believe Burrows was doing this out of spite than it really being true.
“Listen, Jane said that a woman named Lang was seen with… your son. She’s going to try and get more information. Do you have relatives where they might-”
Alex interrupted him as his hand shot out to grab Burrow’s shirt. The other man let him.
“I’m not going to give you any other names.” He felt his voice crack. He didn’t believe that Burrows was lying. He had made the profile. He knew it was unlike him, but Alex didn’t want it to be.
Burrows glanced at the hand clenched around the front of his shirt, but ignored it as his eyes found Alex’s again. “I’m just trying to help you track him. I don’t know if the company would… well, just think about it, all right? I don’t have any booze, but I can make some instant coffee. It’ll taste bad but so did dinner.”
Alex didn’t answer, dropping his gaze to the floor again. Beautiful Pam, laughing Pam, Cameron in front of the Christmas tree, playing with his new toys, Pam’s soft hands as she mapped Alex’s naked body, groaning under him in pleasure, Pam giving birth to Cameron, marrying, college. All his memories flashed through his brain in quick succession. He closed his eyes firmly. Tears were forming, but he wouldn’t let them fall. He couldn’t, because it wasn’t true.
He felt Burrows getting up. The light shone through his eyelids a bit brighter now the human brick wall wasn’t shielding him from it. “Mahone, I’ve been where you are now. It doesn’t mean much, I know, and you’re angry. Just focus on the Company and don’t do anything crazy.”
Alex opened his eyes to see the man in question standing, leaning against the table, looking at the water boiler. Alex barked out a laugh. “Crazy? Are you serious?”
Burrows looked at him sideways. “Mahone, remember how I went crazy when I first saw you? That was crazy weeks after my father… died. I was numb when I heard Veronica died and I can’t even describe the emotion of hearing of the death of my son’s mother. You need to keep your cool or you’ll not be around for your son much longer.” Quite a speech for Burrows and it made Alex angry.
“Pam… this is your fault. If you hadn’t abducted me-” Alex spoke deliberately slowly.
Burrows turned towards him, standing at full height. “That’s bullshit and you know it. You wouldn’t have made it back in time and you would still have been arrested. Possibly been killed yourself.”
*How does that help your son* hung unsaid between them. The water boiled and Burrows grabbed two plastic cups to make the dreaded coffee. Alex didn’t take his when it was offered. “Come on, man, take it and drink it.”
He almost pushed it into Alex’s hands and although Alex resented it, he took it. He held it as his mind continued to whirl. Burrows didn’t speak and they drank their coffee. It was horrible, but Alex could hardly remember what good coffee tasted like anyway.
“Why don’t you tell me about her?” Burrows said softly, staring into his empty coffee cup.
Alex stared at him, not sure how he should respond. “Is this some sort of bonding session? I tell you about Pam and you tell me about your father?”
Burrows jumped up, knocking his chair across the cabin and throwing the empty cup aside. “Damn it, man! I’m trying to give you a break here. You want to suffer alone? Fine, I know what that’s like too.” Burrows stomped out of the cabin, muttering things that described Alex’s state of mind.
A few candles were dying out when the door opened again. Alex had moved back to his makeshift cot. The dark mass of Lincoln Burrows came towards him. He threw something at Alex. “Here, it’s getting colder. I found a few blankets in my car. Take that one.”
The blanket was large and thick. It would most certainly provide warmth and, if Alex wrapped it around himself, softness to lie on. In the meantime, Burrows had picked up the fallen chair and put it upright. He sat down and wrapped something that appeared to be a blanket around himself.
Alex must have shown his confusion because Burrows said, “I’ll stay with you tonight. Go to sleep. I’ll get some toothpaste in the morning.”
The few candles that were still burning flickered in their dying struggle and Alex found he was talking without thinking. “I met Pam in college. We were together whenever we could be. She was my sweetheart.” It sounded hoarse, but true.
Burrows handed him another cup of water and returned to his chair. “Veronica was mine for a while.”
Alex nodded and even though it was fairly dark, he thought he could see Burrows do so in return. They went to sleep after that. Or at least, Alex tried, feeling Burrows eyes on him for quite some time before nightmares greeted him on the other side.
Author's Chapter Notes:
Beta by Foxriverinmate.